Horschel donates half his earnings from THE PLAYERS to Feeding Northeast Florida
March 13, 2020
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
- Billy Horschel has donated more than $115,000 to Feeding Northeast Florida. (Chris Condon/PGA TOUR)
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Billy Horschel called it a sad day in the world of sports.
He understood why THE PLAYERS Championship had to be cancelled. He knew the PGA TOUR had to take action in light of increasing panic amid the global pandemic caused by the coronavirus.
Still, he couldn’t help but be disappointed, as so many people were, that the final three rounds of the TOUR’s showcase event wouldn’t be played at TPC Sawgrass this weekend. March Madness, the NBA, Major League Baseball and the NHL, among other organizations, have made similar decisions.
“When we have situations like this, everyone can rely on sports to sort of take their mind off the tragedy at hand or the situation at hand in the world, and right now we don't have that,” Horschel said. “It's just very sad.”
But the Florida grad is a man who looks to the positives in life. And an organization close to Horschel’s heart, Feeding Northeast Florida, is going to benefit from the cancellation – inheriting much of the food that was bought to feed the more then 200,000 people expected to attend the event.
PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan announced the donation at an 8 a.m. ET press conference on Friday morning. Horschel was in attendance at the standing-room only event and later helped package and load the items donated by catering partners of THE PLAYERS and TPC Sawgrass.
“Billy is ambassador for Feeding Northeast Florida, and obviously we've prepared to have over 200,000 people here on property and won't,” Monahan said. “So, one of the things that we're quickly going to get to work on is how do you take all the food supplies that we have here and put them to good use for our community.
“That's something that we're going to do immediately.”
Horschel didn’t know Monahan was going to single him out. But he was excited when he heard that the organization would benefit from what was such a difficult decision and situation.
“We're going to be loading up on Feeding Northeast Florida food trucks,” Horschel said. “It's really great that the TOUR and the staff of THE PLAYERS Championship is doing this.
“It's our local food bank. We feed a lot of people in the northeast Florida community.”
Horschel, who won the 2014 FedExCup, and his wife Brittany have been involved with Feeding Northeast Florida for more than six years. Since 2015, he has donated more than $115,000 to the organization through his #DriveOutHunger campaign at THE PLAYERS.
The Billy Horschel Junior Invitational, which won the AJGA charitable giving award last year, has also generated more than $135,244 for FNEFL. He bought pallets of AquaHydrate water to give to the food bank after Hurricane Irma. He and his wife have added their sweat equity, stuffing boxes of food to be distributed, as well.
The satisfaction he gets is palpable when Horschel talks about the mission of the organization.
“To see how many individuals in our community are food-insecure, and when people hear that, they think just homeless and local food bank,” Horschel said. “It's really not. There's a lot of people that are working two, three jobs and can't make ends meet, and at the end of the day when that happens, food is the last thing on the burner to be dealt with.
“They’re helping thousands of individuals in our community, and we've been very fortunate enough to be involved with that. I've been very fortunate enough to help raise money. I've donated a lot of my own money to help them meet their goal of making our food -- making our community food-secure, and we're getting closer. We are.”
A year ago, THE PLAYERS Championship generated a record $9.25 million for local charities, bringing the total raised since 1974 to more than $100 million. A similar story can be told in every city that hosts a PGA TOUR event.
But the cancellation of THE PLAYERS, Valspar Championship, World Golf Championships-Dell Match Play and Valero Texas Open, as well as the postponement of the the Corales Punta Cana Resort and Club Championship, over the next month affects the charitable bottom line in those cities.
Let’s help out the charities and organizations that are effected by the cancellation of the upcoming tournaments! Thank you! @THEPLAYERSChamp @ValsparChamp @DellMatchPlay @valerotxopen @CoralesChamp pic.twitter.com/8e3hU5BNts— Billy Horschel (@BillyHo_Golf) March 13, 2020
That’s why Horschel decided to donate $20,000 of the $52,000 he received when THE PLAYERS was cancelled to the FNEFL. (Half of THE PLAYERS $15 million purse was equally distributed among the pros who competed.) He plans to give the rest to other charitable endeavors and Horschel would like to see his fellow pros follow suit.
He knows that there are many charities supported by the tournaments that have been cancelled over the next month that will sorely miss the donations. He’d like to see other TOUR pros use their shares of THE PLAYERS purse to give back, as well.
“I understand everyone is different in this situation, but that the money that they got paid this week, that they donate some way, whether it's to the next week's, next few weeks' charities and organizations or to the charities around where they live, because they're going to need it, as well,” Horschel said.
“That's what I'm going to do. Hopefully my fellow TOUR players understand the situation and do something, as well, but I'm not going to -- I'm not forcing them to do anything. Hopefully they do what they feel like is right.”
Monahan clearly expects to see other TOUR pros follow Horschel’s lead.
“Our focus is going to be with our players on how we use this moment in time to inspire the communities where we won't be playing, inspire when we get back in when we're playing, and make sure we use the strength of this organization to do good here and ultimately get back to this unbelievable platform that we have that's going to get stronger as we go through this challenge,” he said.
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